Brand Communication Intro
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BRAND COMMUNICATIONA STRATEGIC MARKETING APPROACH GROWING AND SUSTAINING BRAND EQUITYA Firm having developed a brand, now looks at how to create, maintain and enhance brand equity under various situations and circumstances. The branding strategy of a firm determines which brand elements a firm chooses to apply across the products it offers for sale. Branding strategy is critical because it is the means by which the firm can help consumers understand its products and services and organize them in their mind. Many firms employ complex branding strategies. For example, brand names may consist of multiple brand name elements ( Toyota Camry V6 XLE ) and may be applied across a range of products ( Toyota cars and trucks).What is the best way to characterize a firms branding strategy under such instances and what guidelines exist to choose the right combinations of brand names and other brand elements, is the focus of our discussion. STRATEGIC TOOLSThe brand product matrix and the brand hierarchy help to characterize and formulate branding strategies by defining various relationships among brands and products. Brand Architecture: The brand architecture, for a firm tells marketers which brand names, logos, symbols and so forth to apply to which new and existing products. We often distinguish branding strategies by whether a firm is or should be employing an umbrella corporate or family brand for all of its products ( as a branded house, or a collection of individual brands all with different names ( as a house of brands). Brand architecture defines both boundaries and complexity. Which different products should share the same name? How many variations of the brand name should we employ? ContdThe role of defining branding strategies and brand architecture is two - fold :1. Clarify -- Brand Awareness: Improve consumer understanding and communicate similarity and differences between individual products. 2. Motivate Brand Image: Maximize transfer of equity to/from the brand to individual products to improve trial and repeat purchase. The Brand Product Matrix: To characterize the product and branding strategy of a firm, one useful tool is the brand-product matrix. It is a graphical representation of all the brands and products sold by the firm. The matrix (or grid) has the brands of a firm as rows and the corresponding products as columns. The rows of the matrix represent brand product relationships and capture the brand extension strategy of the firm in terms of the number and nature of products sold under the firms different brands. Contd.A brand line consists of all products original as well as line and category extensions sold under a particular brand. Thus, a brand line is one row of the matrix. We want to judge a potential new product extension for a brand on how effectively it leverages existing brand equity from the parent brand to the new product, as well as how effectively the extension, in turn, contributes to the equity of the parent brand. The columns of the matrix represent product brand relationships and capture the brand portfolio strategy in terms of the number and nature of brands to be marketed in each category. The brand portfolio is the set of all brands and brand lines that a particular firm offers for sale to buyers in a particular category. A product line is a group of products within a particular category that are closely related because they function in a similar manner, are sold to the same customer groups, are marketed through the same type of outlets, or fall within given price ranges. Contd.A product line may include different brands, or a single family brand or individual brand that has been line extended. A product mix (or product assortment) is the set of all product lines and items that a particular seller makes available to buyers. A brand mix (or brand assortment) is the set of all brand lines that a particular seller makes available to buyers.
The BREADTH And DEPTH of a branding strategy describes the number and nature of different products linked to the brands sold by a firm. The firm has to make strategic decisions about how many different product lines it should carry ( the breadth of the product mix), as well as how many variants to offer in each product line ( the depth of the product mix). Contd..The main reasons for a firm to have multiple brands in the same category is to ensure broad market coverage. By adopting multiple brands, the firm is able to pursue different price segments, different channels of distribution and different geographic boundaries. Many firms have to introduce multiple brands because no one brand is viewed equally favourably by all the different market segments the firm would like to target. Other reasons include:- To increase shelf presence and retailer dependence in the store- To attract consumers seeking variety who may otherwise switch to another brand- To increase internal competition within the firmTo yield economies of scale in advertising, sales, merchandising and physical distribution.Contd..In designing the optimal brand portfolio, marketers generally need to trade off market coverage and these other considerations with costs and profitability. Brand lines with poorly differentiated brands are likely to be characterized by much cannibalization and require appropriate pruning. The basic principle in designing a brand portfolio is to maximize market coverage so that no potential customers are being ignored, but minimize brand overlap so that brands arent competing among themselves to gain customers approval. Each brand should have a distinct target market and positioning. Roles of a Brand as part of a brand portfolio Flanker: These are protective or fighter brands. The purpose of flanker brands is to create stronger points of parity with competitors brands so that more important ( and more profitable) flagship brands can retain their desired positioning.Roles of BrandsMany firms are introducing discount brands as flankers to better compete with store brands and private labels and protect their higher priced companions. While designing flanker brands, firms must be careful. The flankers should not be so attractive that they take sales away from their higher priced companion brands. On the other hand, they should NOT be designed so cheaply that they reflect poorly on these other brands. Cash Cows: Some brands may be retained despite dwindling sales because they still manage to hold on to a sufficient number of customers and maintain their profitability with virtually no marketing support. Low end Entry Level or High-end Prestige Brands: Many brands introduce line extensions or brand variants in a certain product category that vary in price and quality. Brand HierarchyA brand hierarchy is a useful means of graphically portraying a firms branding strategy by displaying the number and nature of common and distinctive brand elements across the firms products, revealing the explicit ordering of brand elements. The highest level of the hierarchy technically always consists of one brand the corporate or company brand. At the next lower level, a family brand is used in more than one product category but is not necessarily the name of the firm. (eg. Tropicana and Lays)An individual brand is a brand restricted to essentially one product category, although it may be used for several different product types within that category. A modifier is a means to designate a specific item or model type or a particular version or configuration of the product.Designing a Branding StrategyCorporate objectives, consumer behaviour or competitive activity may sometimes dictate significant deviations in branding strategy and the way the brand hierarchy is organized for different products or different markets. Thus the brand hierarchy may not be symmetric. Brand elements may receive more or less emphasis, or not be present at all, depending on the particular products and markets. Brand elements at each level of the hierarchy may contribute to brand equity through their ability to create awareness as well as foster strong, favorable and unique brand associations and positive responses. Therefore, the challenge in setting up the brand hierarchy and arriving at a branding strategy is to:(1) design the proper brand hierarchy with the right number and nature of brand elements to use at each level, and (2) design the optimal supporting marketing program to create the desired amount of brand awareness and type of brand associations at each level.Contd..Specifically the marketers must decide: 1. The number of levels of the hierarchy to use in general2. The desired brand awareness and image at each level3. Combinations of brand elements from different levels of the hierarchy, if any, for any one particular product. 4. How any one brand element is linked, if at all, to multiple products.
The practice of combining an existing brand with a new brand is called sub-branding because the subordinate brand is a means of modifying the superordinate brand. For example, ThinkPad was a sub-brand to the IBM name, and T42 was a second-level sub-brand to further modify the meaning of the product. A sub-brand, or hybrid-branding strategy can also allow for the creation of specific brand beliefs.
Contd.The principle of simplicity is based on the need to provide the right amount of branding information to consumers.The principle of relevance is based on the advantages of efficiency and economy.The principle of differentiation is based on the disadvantages of redundancy. Marketers should distinguish brands at the same level as much as possible. The principle of prominence states that the relative prominence of the brand elements determines which element or elements become the primary one(s) and which become the secondary one(s). The principle of commonality states that the more common brand elements products share, the st